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How would you organize user training to best ensure that clinical workers are fully prepared to use a new information system effectively?

First of all I would make sure that all the staff is apprised of the fact that a new information system is being installed, along with a brief description of it.  The staff should be onboard with what is happening before training actually begins so as to maximize its benefits.  “The extensive training that is involved to teach staff and providers to use an electronic health record (EHR) system is one of the larger costs of implementation and an important opportunity for realizing the transformation in  care delivery that EHRs can bring” (Training Strategies).  It is also important to plan for—and carry out– follow-up training in order to reap the full benefits of EHR.  Inasmuch as training to use the EHR is very closely connected to the implementation strategy and plan, “it can be effective to separate training and implementation into the different functions (ibid.).  How much can be taught at any one time will depend primarily on the organization’s computer expertise and the extent of time off availability for trainees.

Often the vendor trains a core group known as super users who configure the system and subsequently provide support to other users of the system.  It has been found that clinician to clinician training has often been more effective than that of IS and IT staff, resulting in the California Health Foundation appointing an RN to be responsible for the clinical portion.  They carry out less classroom work and more one-on-one and small group training, which is what is needed.  It is important that end users in training have a certain level of familiarity with computers; and if tests reveal that they do not, they are given computer training before receiving role-based training, which will be followed by process-based training.  Holding mock clinics for a day allows for integrated end-to-end integrated process training. (ibid.)

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References

California Healthcare Foundation.  Training strategies:  EHR deployment techniques. (June 2010). Retrieved on February 19, 2013, from http://www.chcf.org/-/media/MEDIA.

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